Coventry is top West Midlands bus garage
Ewa Kozlowska receives her Unsung Hero award from MD Peter Coates
National Express’ Coventry garage has swept the board at the bus operator’s yearly Value Awards.
The Pool Meadow depot won seven awards - including Garage of the Year - at the annual prizegiving, hosted by National Express Group Chief Executive, Dean Finch.
Pool Meadow beat National Express’ ten other UK bus garages - Birmingham Central, Perry Barr, Yardley Wood, Acocks Green, Bordesley Green, Walsall, West Bromwich, Wolverhampton and Pensnett, plus Xplore Dundee.
Coventry garage also donated the most money to charity in 2016, raising £3,273 for Rainbow Ripples at Myton Hospice. That brought them the prize of an extra £1,000 for the charity, which offers support for children and young people.
The depot also won the Customer Service award, which rates each garage on cleanliness, punctuality and reliability.
In addition, five people from Coventry depot won individual awards.
Sammy Khumalo was crowned National Express Driver of the Year in the bus division, beating 3,500 of his fellow drivers across the West Midlands and Dundee. Sammy is a certified Master Driver - he has passed advanced motorist and customer service qualifications over and above National Express' basic driver training, as well as recording exemplary driving scores on the in-bus computers.
Sammy was shortlisted for the company’s Group Values awards in London in April, where he will be up against National Express staff from across the UK as well as Spain, Morocco and America.
The team award for Driving Out Harm went to Coventry garage’s Garry Marsh and Barry Molesworth for producing safety training for the city’s bus routes. Armed with a Go-Pro camera and a bus, Garry and Barry make videos highlighting what drivers should pay special attention to on the routes. These films go out via the depot TV for drivers to watch as they book on for duty.
Newcomer Bob Bowman won the Outstanding Support Service award. The judges said, “His enthusiasm and passion for providing a reliable service to the city is contagious.”
And cleaner Ewa Kozlowska was named Unsung Hero for her dedication to improving cleaning standards at Coventry garage. She was especially praised for making sure that buses that had been off the road for some time go back out to passengers looking their best.
Martin Hancock, Director of the Coventry operation, said:
“These awards represent what the whole garage does really well - providing a safe, clean service that gets the buses out on the road ready to pick up passengers, day in, day out. Quietly, without drama, everyone gets on with their own tasks to deliver what our passengers need and expect.
“At the end of the day, we are in business to carry passengers and our simple aim is to carry more passengers in safety.”
National Express Coventry has bucked the nationwide trend of falling bus passengers, and is now carrying more people than last year and the year before.
The 12X was a particular success in 2016. In November, extra journeys were added on Friday and Saturday evenings to serve students coming into the city for a night out. National Express Coventry has seen year-on-year growth of over 10% on services to the university.